Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Dublin-London Air Fares.

Wednesday, 1 November 1978

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 308 No. 9

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14.

Mr. Belton: Information on Luke Belton  Zoom on Luke Belton  asked the Minister for Tourism and Transport if he will make a statement on the increase in fares on the Dublin-London route.

Mr. Faulkner: Information on Padraig Faulkner  Zoom on Padraig Faulkner  I have recently authorised increases in cross-channel air fares including the Dublin-London route effective from 1 November 1978. Normal fare levels are being increased by 6 per cent and the lower promotional fares by about 9 per cent. These increases fall short of fully compensating for increased costs of operating the air services between the two countries including anticipated cost increases in the coming year.

Aer Lingus are very conscious of the need to keep fares as low as possible and to this end a low advance purchase fare was introduced on cross-channel routes earlier this year. On the Dublin-London route this fare represents a 33 per cent reduction on the normal fare.

Mr. O'Donnell: Information on Thomas G. O'Donnell  Zoom on Thomas G. O'Donnell  Could the Minister indicate whether there has been an increase in the volume of traffic between London and Dublin since the last increase in fares was granted and, if so, the extent of the increase?

Mr. Faulkner: Information on Padraig Faulkner  Zoom on Padraig Faulkner  I have not got that information.

Mr. O'Donnell: Information on Thomas G. O'Donnell  Zoom on Thomas G. O'Donnell  Further arising, could the Minister indicate whether Aer Lingus have considered the introduction of a shuttle service between Dublin and London such as is in operation between London and Glasgow? In view of the high volume of traffic on it, the route [1447] would appear to lend itself admirably to the introduction of a shuttle service which would automatically lead substantially to a reduction in the fares.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  This is an argumentative question.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  How do all these fares compare with the cross-channel fares into Belfast?

Mr. Faulkner: Information on Padraig Faulkner  Zoom on Padraig Faulkner  I have not got that information.

Mr. O'Donnell: Information on Thomas G. O'Donnell  Zoom on Thomas G. O'Donnell  Could the Minister let me have information on the introduction of a shuttle service—a walk-across service if you like—one that is not prebooked?

Mr. Faulkner: Information on Padraig Faulkner  Zoom on Padraig Faulkner  I will look that up for the Deputy.

Mr. P. Barry: Information on Peter Barry  Zoom on Peter Barry  Deputy O'Leary was incorrect when he said that the dearest crossing in the world was that between London and Dublin. It is not; it is the one between Cork and London. Does the Minister consider that the pooling arrangement operated by the air companies serving the Republic is of benefit in keeping prices down?

Mr. Faulkner: Information on Padraig Faulkner  Zoom on Padraig Faulkner  That is a difficult question to answer.

Mr. P. Barry: Information on Peter Barry  Zoom on Peter Barry  With due respect, he is the Minister.

Mr. Faulkner: Information on Padraig Faulkner  Zoom on Padraig Faulkner  With due respect, when the Deputy was Minister he did not seem to bother himself very much about it.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  (Cavan-Monaghan): Is the Minister aware that as recently as yesterday it was stated on behalf of Aer Lingus that the Dublin-London route is by far the best paying route Aer Lingus have? If that is so does the Minister not think that the fare would bear reduction, or is it a case of this route subsidising other extensions of Aer Lingus?

[1448]Mr. Faulkner: Information on Padraig Faulkner  Zoom on Padraig Faulkner  Does the Deputy suggest that we reduce the fares on that route so as to increase them on unprofitable routes?

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  You are the Minister.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  (Cavan-Monaghan): No, I am suggesting that London-Dublin passengers and vice versa should not be charged more than is reasonably necessary to cover the cost of that route.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  A question, Deputy.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  Since the duty-free facilities have been granted on these cross-channel routes has any cognisance been taken of the very high profits being so made and are they being set against the cost of running these aircraft to and from London?

Mr. Faulkner: Information on Padraig Faulkner  Zoom on Padraig Faulkner  Whatever income Aer Lingus have, irrespective of where it comes from, is used by Aer Lingus for their own development.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  The Minister for Posts and Telegraphs will now answer Question No. 16 from Deputy Keating. Sorry, it should be Question No. 15 which I called so long since.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  Has Question No. 15 been withdrawn?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  I am not aware. I have called it.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  I do not believe that Question No. 15 was called.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  I am calling it now.


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